Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies


The public opinion that informs the public narrative around migrant groups shows  “a cyclical relationship of welcome and expulsion, where entrance to the American political and the right to stay here are a function of the political context of the time and are conditioned on the racial categorization of newcomers.” (Masuoka 187) A popular argument against immigration reform and the legalization of undocumented migrants is that these individuals are law breakers, without taking into account the latter quote and that the current immigration system no longer fits current times. Therefore, it is the legal framework that can enable and legitimize mass mobilization of labor and the flow of money in an accelerated, mutually beneficial fashion. This can be achieved by molding public opinion and creating a narrative that will increase political pressure and produce effective policy changes.

There are many lessons that can be learned from the DREAMER campaign to be implemented in the larger movement. The public narrative around immigration must be changed, and what the DREAMER movement has demonstrated is that it can be changed despite conventional ideals of how it should be changed. The Kingdon Model shows that the political climate around immigration is not favorable and thus there has been no major change in terms of large-scale reform. Immigration is not a new phenomenon and public attitudes regarding certain waves of immigrants at certain periods of time, change drastically. 

The way that the DREAMer movement has used new media to compliment physical activist efforts has not only allowed them to take some control about the way they are being framed, it also helps widen their exposure and allows them to create communities across the globe. However, it is important that we acknowledge that this sub-movement shows a problem within the larger immigrant rights movement: the digital divide. We must seek ways to engage adults and those with limited digital access so that they can also produce political pressure and therefore policy changes. 

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